A few Sundays ago a special friend from Brazil bought me lunch for my birthday. She calls me papa bear and I call her filha-daughter. To give you an example of our friendship, she drove me home from the hospital after a minor surgery in November 2017. We took a picture together which she posted on Facebook with the title- Rescuing Papa Bear from the hospital.
During lunch she talked with me about dating apps as in she tried to encourage me to use one. I told here if I did my dating profile would have to be:
Overweight older man, broke home missionary, have gotten uglier as I got older, living with chronic illness so might have to cancel dates at last minute etc.
We laughed and she told me I wouldn’t get any dates with that profile. On such apps some people might emphasize the positive or even outright lie to attract others.
In this day and age of ‘Christian leaders’ writing books with titles like Your Best Life Now, which are a mix of some Christianity and self empowerment thinking, honesty about what Christ offers seems to be lacking.
Imagine a profile on an app to attract more Christians reading something like:
Eternal life guaranteed. Forgiveness 100%. Relationship with God.
You might suffer. You might lose everything. You might lose your job. You might lose friends. Your life on earth might get worse but cheer up I am with you.
I am inspired by Paul’s life. He had it made in the eyes of religious leaders and community leaders. He was at the top. But one encounter with Jesus and he became the church planting apostle who was thrown in jail, shipwrecked. beaten, and much more suffering.
It causes me to think about what Jesus said if anyone wants to follow him in Luke 9:
“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”
Paul did and he expressed his feelings about it in Philippians 3″
” But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ”
That was written by Paul to a church in Philippi that started by Paul being beaten and thrown in jail after delivering a slave girl of being possessed. Read the story in Acts 16.
Just as our focus should be on our relationship with the giver, Jesus, and not the gifts he gives in our own lives, so should our emphasis be on Jesus and his love as we share him with others and the offer he holds out in his hands of forgiveness and eternal life not on false promises. Yes Jesus does still perform miracles and do wonderful things for us, but what if God’s allows us to suffer for his purposes?
Thank you for reading. God Bless.